This is a novel about golf with a message about living. The storyline concerns a young pro-golfer wanting desperately to make it to the big leagues (the PGA tour). Thinking he is closing in on his goal, he has a classic meltdown in an important tournament. At the end of his rope, he wanders to the little town of Utopia, Texas, where he meets a former golf coach who mentors him in golf and life. In “Karate Kid” fashion the coach improves the young man’s game through other activities such as fly fishing, tossing washers, piloting a small plane, painting, and by introducing him to a revolutionary new kind of putter. In a week’s time the young golfer’s game is transformed and he wins the biggest tournament of his life.
But the coach also teaches the young pro that there are things in life far more important than golf (p. 98); a relationship with Jesus Christ. Cook weaves the gospel winsomely and appropriately so that many reading this book will relate and take notice. Unfortunately the gospel presented is weak. The message is that if you come to Christ you will have a life of significance, opportunity, purpose, fulfillment (pp. 102, 104) and adventure (p. 103). Cook does mention the need for forgiveness of sin (pp. 103, 105), following Christ (pp. 103-104), faith (p. 104), and the death of Christ on our behalf (p. 105). What he has to say is not devoid of the essential elements of the biblical gospel but the emphasis is clearly on significance found in Christ although significance, purpose and fulfillment are results of a relationship with Christ. The core issue Christ came to remedy is none of these but our sin-sickness. Our need is a Savior from sin. This is not clear in Golf’s Sacred Journey although not completely absent.
For golfers, this book might improve your game. As a tool for evangelism it might be helpful as well, but be sure to direct any who might read it back to the clear message of salvation.